ConversationThe paintings of Barbizon artists: Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and her art history professor. Professor: Ok, Maria. So what's up? Maria: About the trip to the art museum this month? I had to leave class early yesterday, so I missed your instructions. Professor: Oh, yes. Okay. The museum is huge, and the point is not to see it all, but to see it well, really take your time with something fairly specific. Is there any particular school or period of painting that interest you? Professor: Well, I've seen some interesting landscape paintings, you know, just in books by artists from the Barbizon school. And I saw somewhere that there's a Barbizon is on exhibit at the museum this month. Professor: That's right. What do you know about the Barbizon school? Maria: Well, I know it was a popular group of painters in France, between, maybe 1830 and 1880? Professor: Ok. Maria: And they got their name from the village called Barbizon, which was just outside Paris, because most of the Barbizon artists did their paintings in and around the forest near Barbizon. I read that they find some natural scenery that had been untouched by modern civilization. Maybe something had seemed pretty ordinary to most people, like some part of the country side, and they try to faithfully capture it. You know, Gunnison. Professor: Uh huh. Maria: I guess their approach was very different from the earlier tradition of French academic landscape painting, where they had these big spectacular imaginary landscapes inspired by classical poems. Professor: Yes. Okay, it sounds like the Barbizon school would be an excellent focal point for you. Maria: So maybe I should do like a comparative study, like comparing Barbizon artist's landscapes with the traditional French academic landscapes? Professor: Okay, okay, remember we're only going to be there for an afternoon, not for a week. Maria: Oh, okay. Professor: I suggest you survey the Barbizon exhibit, then choose one painting and study it very carefully. Maria: Okay. Professor: Look for things you might not be able to see in a print in a book. Maria: So ... not in a book, hm, can I run something by you? Professor: Sure. Maria: I've read that what Barbizon painters often did was they go out in the forest, do some quick preliminary studies and sketches for a painting, then they go back inside and finish the painting in the studio. But they wanted to give the impression that they'd done the whole painting outdoors. You know that maybe they'd had to work quickly to capture a certain scene, a certain late afternoon light before changed, maybe under less than ideal weather conditions? And so they'd often intentionally leave their painting a little unfinished. Like if you look closely, maybe the brush strokes are a little coarse not as refined as in a more finished painting. Professor: Good. Then what I would do is afterward I'd go online and try to find a large print of the painting, or maybe a slide that I could project on the wall, you know, something of decent size and quality. Some stuff can be kind of pricey, so you may have to look around a bit. Maria: Okay. Professor: Then do some background research. And when you presented a class show the painting and talk about the ways it embodies the principles of the Barbizon school. Maria: Okay, thank you, professor.